Derek and Justin Thomas Ostensen, 27 and 31, respectively, have long been videographers, from their film backgrounds to their DVDs-as-artwork business, Ambiance Visuals. The founders of the 6-year-old Laguna Beach, California, company offer ready-made and customizable DVDs featuring still photos or films for display on plasma TVs. Artists and galleries worldwide supply images, but the brothers shoot most of the video footage themselves, then stream clips online at ambiancevisuals.com.
"Digital video cameras--especially with the advancement of HD--allow us to capture the highest quality imagery," says Justin Thomas. "When we have the opportunity to shoot in, say, Ireland, we want to take the best possible technology."
Whether they're using video at the core of their operations--like the Ostensens, who project 2008 sales of more than $1 million--or simply livening up their businesses' websites, today's entrepreneurs have access to some of the most feature-packed digital video cameras, many of which are now catering to the streaming video frenzy.
With a few mouse clicks (and previously installed CyberLink software), the YouTube-compatible JVC Everio GZ-MS100 instantly uploads files from an SD card to the popular site. For $350, it comes equipped with a rechargeable battery, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, 35x optical zoom, and noise and camera-shake reduction.
The DXG 569V HD digital camcorder makes online uploading easy, too, and it also simplifies video editing. The $169, 5-megapixel camera comes with ArcSoft Total Media Extreme software for user-friendly video editing as well as still camera, voice recorder and storage capabilities.
Emphasizing portability, the $180, 3-ounce Flip Video Mino has a 1.5-inch LCD screen and a flip-out USB arm for, again, quick uploading. Record 60 minutes of high-quality footage to its 2GB internal Flash memory and, using its built-in software, instantly upload, edit and e-mail videos, and order DVDs online.